Thank you for everyone who left a comment here. It is great to see so much support.
Because I am writing this blog backwards, I want to share our experience in coping with a tripawds cat.
You might be reading from other stories, that they cope well on 3 legs, and many would be jumping around as soon as they are allowed to. Dao dao is the unfortunate one who did not cope well, or we already brace ourselves that he might not be back to himself.
From the worst to now, I am very grateful that he managed all on his own. Dao has a super temperament, he is very gentle and kind, and will mingle with strangers and cope well in a strange environment. For example, he gives headbutts to the nurses in the vet clinic once he was off his methadone… He would listen to the car noise, and come and greet you at the door. Or he would lead you to the water tap and meow at you to open the tab… it shows you what type of character he is
This is a video after one week he had his stitches removed, and as you can see, he lost all his balance and struggled. He could not walk straight, cried a lot, and need help in walking without falling.
When we first had the amputation, our surgeon reassured he can climb trees.. walk and behave normally. And you can understand how we felt when after the surgery, he just could not walk. We showed this video to the clinic, and they asked us to go back to them immediately for further scan. The Head of oncology, the vet in charge, also examined him and found weakness in his front limbs. He was then x-ray and seen by 2 neurologists who confirmed he is ok in the neurology function.
We then asked for opinions what to do next, and at the very beginning after the surgery, physio is suggested to us. I declined it (just like Chemotherapy) because I thought it was not necessary. too many people wrote how well their cat and dogs coped after losing the leg, and I thought it would happen to Dao. Even later, at this specialist clinic, we found out we might be the only one who suffered from this out of all the amputation surgery.
Hydrotherapy, is suggested by the vet. Without other options, we took it. . And it seems like miracle happens.. it worked! Yes, you throw a cat in a water treadmill, and 5 sessions later.. he can walk again!!
(please click link to have a look. unable to show in this community blog)
They also have success with a cat who was paralysed, and they said it depends how well the cat will co-operate as well.
For hydrotherapy, there is 2 types, one is swimming..
dao went for the treadmill because he was very afraid being thrown into the water.. and also, because of the way how cope with his balance, he flips in water which is very dangerous in the water situation.
The cat is first put inside the treadmill and get used to, before water is introduced and flood slowly. They will have water up to the neck level first,and cats can only stand for maybe maximum 3-4 of treadmill before they give up.
We had intensive hydrotherapy sessions, one is because Cat cannot stay too long in water, they just give up when they like it (unlike dogs.. who can stay for 30 mins), and also, it is good to relearn his skills a few times during the day, so we went there twice a week for 5 half-day sessions. It is a bit of drive, 45 mins there and 45 mins back. Do you find cats hate the car journey, but once this whole medical journey begins, they cooperate? We finally found a way for Dao to travel long distance, is to bring his Hello Kitty blanket with him, wrap him up inside it, and one person to do the driving and the other person holds him. If I am the only one going to Hydrotherapy, he would sit on my lap, and I left with only 1 hand on the steering wheel! But he stops crying hard and stop becoming upset in the journey…
it is amazing that Dao regain his balance with hydrotherapy, and he managed to walk up the stairs after the first session, and while typing this post, i let him out in the garden with steps to climb up and down.
During the hydrotherapy, they explained because his amputation was so high up, he will always lost his balance.. Dao will need to cope with the disability but so far, he is adjusting to it.
Many people question if we know Dao will lose his balance forever, will we still go ahead with amputation? We will say yes, it saves his life and we have him back with us.